After I had been telling stories for a bout a decade, I very foolishly decided that I had enough standard tales to write a book. Oh, I had enough material, but it just ain't that easy. I discovered that telling a story was totally different from writing one. In essence, I found that talking is "fluid" and the written version of the tale is "frozen." I have never memorized stories since I found that having the freedom to improvise gave a tale a vitality that seems to be missing from memorized tales. But it was more complicated than that. I also learned that the language was different. Stardard devices like repetition were valuable in telling, but they were problems in the written version. Also, body language didn't "translate" to a written format. Finally, I had to invent a different approach to every story. And I discovered that I had lost the wonderful interaction between the storyteller and his audience. In fact, I fed on the audience response. Now, with the written format, I had to "imagine" and audience and "write" to them. Well, I am talking too much. I need a response. Gary
I'm not a "spoken" storyteller, but my grandmother was. Every night before I went to sleep, she made up a tale of three bunnies for me. I translated (made up) one in written form which I'll post soon to your new "writers club" board.
Most families have stories (folklore) passed down and The Storytelling Center in Jonesborough TN has made an effort to codify the form and preserve it. They have in the process gone beyond Appalachia, their original reach I believe, to cover worldwide storytelling.
Some of the original "front porch" informality is sometimes lost in that format. My first memory of encountering Appalachian storytellers was one of absolute delight. It was on-stage in the 60s, before it had been recognized as a legitimate art form. The tellers seemed like they'd just left their livingrooms briefly to share a story or two.
It was "country when country wasn't cool," to borrow a song-line.
I know a lot of storytellers who memorize their stories. I don't approve of that. I've memorized stuff, too, but I always felt that I lost an "edge" and talked in a way that sounded stilted. I find that if you don't know what you are going to say next, it gives your delivery a "vitality" that it wouldn't have otherwise. I've talked about this at length esewhere, I think. Gary
As an oral story teller gone author, as I refer to it, a story teller that types, I certainly agree there is a gulley to cross when writing. But I enjoy the challenge of painting the story with words, although I miss the body language that goes along with telling.
You always know your story, so I find memorization useless, it's watching your audience and having that inkling of what they like most about the presentation. You catch that "Ah-Ha" moment in their eyes and can turn the story or embellish on parts when you watch their reactions....that and the feedback is immediate.
Than again, I love wading around in a story in my mind. Lingering over it and watching it run like a movie in my head. I have the time when I write to see it again, smell the smells, notice the color and then show my readers my movie. So oral and written have their perks. I just happen to love writing. Not so much the editing, but the writing just captures me.